Ashley's story: In the fight of her life

Ashley Jensen-Barret had a very stressful 2012 and early 2013.

Actually, that’s an understatement.

She gave birth to her daughter, her marriage ended, and she lost her teaching job.

The 29-year-old single mom then found out she had Stage 4 breast cancer that spread to her bones.

After receiving initial treatment at a Chicago hospital, Jensen-Barret moved back to her central Illinois hometown of Mahomet to live closer to her parents.  

“I reached out to Carle Cancer Center to explore options for receiving chemotherapy there as opposed to traveling to Chicago every week,” Jensen-Barret said. “Carle doctors coordinated my care with my doctors in Chicago and arranged for me to receive my treatments closer to home.

“I quickly saw Carle had my best interests at heart.”

Ashley finds she receives so much more than her cancer treatments at Carle.

“The nurses aren’t just there to give medicine. They help me to feel comfortable and relaxed. They ask about my life and listen as I talk about my baby,” she said.

Over time, Ashley discovered something.

“My cancer treatment is one of the few things in my life that I can count on.”

Ashley expounded, “The nurses are always there. They care about me and all of their patients. They take time to listen.”

Christine Plotner, BSN, nurse coordinator at Carle Cancer Center, says one of the most important jobs for oncology nurses is to put a patient at ease.

“Cancer is scary. Chemotherapy is scary. We are here to help patients through a hard time in their life. Many times that help comes from us listening and talking to them,” Plotner said.

Ashley is so appreciative of her care at Carle; she catered a lunch to the cancer center this past Christmas for all the nurses and staff. “They take such good physical and emotional care of me. I wanted to do something nice for them,” she explained.

Her cancer fight is far from over. Unfortunately, the cancer has spread to her brain and liver.

“I don’t want a prognosis. I want to fight. I have a 3-year-old to live for.”

Ashley fights knowing some of her biggest supporters are her doctors and nurses at Carle.

Learn more of Ashley's story on her blog cute4cancer.blogspot.com.

The staff at Carle supports our cancer survivors and invites all cancer survivors to come to Cancer Survivors Day, Thursday, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Vineyard Church in Urbana. The evening is a chance for cancer survivors to interact with fellow patients and their providers in a relaxed setting.